Dairy can be a healthy inclusion into your way of eating provided you are currently able to consume this food type. In this blog we look at the key components of dairy and what you should consider in order to get the most from its benefits.
Firstly - What is in dairy?
Dairy comprises of the following;
Lactose consists of simple sugars glucose and galactose. Lactose breaks down very easily into the bloodstream.
Casein accounts for 80% of the total protein in dairy, including all nine essential amino acids.
Whey protein makes up the remaining 20% of protein in milk. Like casein, whey contains all the essential amino acids, although it is digested much more rapidly into the bloodstream.
4. Fatty Acids
There are hundreds of different fatty acids in milk, and the great majority are saturated, the breakdown of this is generally;
- Saturated: 70% of total dairy fat
- Monounsaturated: 25% of total dairy fat
- Polyunsaturated: 5% of total dairy fat
Learn more about fats - here
A key criticism of Dairy
A criticism of dairy is that it is an inflammatory food and wasn't a part of our evolutionary diet, and may increase risk of cancer.
However, most of the research to date conflicts with this claim!
Many people who follow LCHF and in particular keto lifestyle enjoy cheese, cream, butter and/or plain yogurt on a regular basis. However, others avoid it because they believe it may slow down weight loss or even cause weight gain (this is not the case when consuming in the right balance).
Benefits of dairy consumption include;
Dairy helps lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to increased abdominal fat storage when released in excess.
It is good for bone strength and development and research links dairy to good cardiovascular health too.
Dairy can assist you in feeling satisfied for longer and it is a useful cooking accompaniment.
A further "FYI" on Dairy...
Dairy will release insulin which can have an impact on reaching and maintaining a state of ketosis.
Although eating modest amounts of high-fat, low-carb dairy may provide several health benefits, there are certain people who might be better off avoiding it or consuming it only rarely. These include;
For obvious reasons, anyone with an allergy to casein or other dairy component should avoid dairy. Some people with lactose intolerance may be able to eat cheese or yogurt; however, others may be sensitive to even the small amounts contained in these foods.
Experiencing Individual Side Effects
If you find that avoiding dairy helps you feel better, reduces skin breakouts, assist in your gut health, or makes your weight loss easier then you can most certainly reduce or eliminate dairy without harm to your health - consult with us for more guidance if unsure.
Our Top Dairy Tips
Choose Pastured, Grass-fed, or Organic Full-Fat Products Whenever Possible
In addition to having lower levels of hormones, dairy from grass-fed cows is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid than dairy from grain-fed cows.
Raw vs. Pasteurized
Low-Carb Dairy Choices
Here are the dairy choices with the fewest grams carbs per serve
- Brie and Camembert cheese
- Muenster cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Gouda cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Blue cheese
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese
- Swiss cheese
The following foods are typically consumed in larger amounts and are slightly higher in carbs per serve
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Ricotta cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Feta cheese
Keep in mind that regardless of carb content, eating large amounts of cheese may slow down weight loss because it is high in calories, tasty and easy to overindulge in.
Take Home Message
Although there are valid reasons to avoid dairy in certain cases, most people should be able to include at least small amounts in their LCHF or keto approach with good results.
However, dairy is one of those foods that seem to affect people differently. In addition, there is a lack of research on dairy's effects in people following ketogenic diets.
Therefore seeing how you individually respond to dairy might be the next action you need to assess.
Please note: Seeking qualified individual help may be best in your case!